Believe it or not, your infant’s oral health care does not start when they begin to erupt baby teeth. Good oral hygiene starts right away — from day one! February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, and it’s important to know that your child’s dental health is just as important when he’s a baby as it is when he has a mouth full of teeth. Even though baby teeth are temporary, they play a very important roll in your child’s health as he grows. Baby teeth help with eating, speech development, facial structure and holding space to help adult teeth come in properly. Since infants can’t take care of their own teeth, it’s important that you, the parent, know the importance of infant dental health and how to take care of your baby’s gums and teeth properly.
Must-Know Infant Dental Health Care Tips
Keep your baby’s teeth and gums healthy, and preserve their beautiful smile with the help of these infant dental care tips:
Visit the dentist when your child gets his first tooth, or by his first birthday. Early care will help care for and protect teeth as they grow. By starting a habit of visiting the dentist early on, you may help your child feel more comfortable in the dentist’s office.
Schedule regular visits to the dentist for your baby. A visit every six months is a great habit to get into to support your child’s dental health. And it will be a habit that will stick with him as he gets older!
Be cautious of bedtime drinks. Sugar is loved by the bacteria that causes cavities! Milk and juice may cause sweet liquid to pool in your baby’s mouth, which can cause cavities.
Start brushing or cleaning your infant’s gums early on with a cloth or soft-bristled infant toothbrush to keep their mouth healthy and clean and to develop a healthy tooth-brushing habit.
Check with your baby’s dentist about the appropriate amount of toothpaste to use once your child’s teeth start coming in. Dentists generally recommend using an amount comparable to a grain of rice for babies and a pea-sized amount for toddlers.
Babies need regular tooth-brushing just like adults and older children. Make brushing your baby’s gums and teeth a twice-daily habit to keep his mouth healthy and clean.
Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry and generally have offices and equipment specifically designed for children. All dentists study pediatric dentistry in dental school. However, pediatric dentists complete additional specialty training after dental school. Either way it is up to you if you would like to have your child visit a general dentist or pediatric dentist be sure to have your child visit the dentist regularly.